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Xavi leaves Al Sadd, set to become new Barcelona manager

Barcelona legend set for sensational return to boyhood club

Xavi Hernandez is set to be appointed as the new Barcelona manager after Qatari club Al Sadd announced that the 41-year-old Spaniard has left the club after his release clause was met by Barcelona.

Xavi, who played for and captained Barcelona, left the club in 2015 after captaining them to a treble. He was said to have informed the Qatari club of his willingness to return to his boyhood club to play his part in helping them recover from their present slump that cost Dutch manager and fellow ex-Barcelona player Ronald Koeman his job.

Al Sadd chief executive Turki Al-Ali said: “Xavi informed us a few days ago of his desire to go to Barcelona at this particular time, because of the critical stage his hometown club is going through, and we understand this and decided not to stand in his way.

“The Al Sadd administration has agreed on Xavi’s move to Barcelona after the payment of the release clause stipulated in the contract. We’ve agreed on cooperation with Barcelona in the future.

“Xavi is an important part of Al Sadd’s history and we wish him success.”

Xavi will take over as the new Barcelona manager from Barcelona B boss Sergi Barjuan, who was placed in charge of the team on an interim basis. Barjuan led the club to a 1-1 draw against Alaves and a 1-0 win against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.

Xavi has enjoyed a trophy-laden career as a player and manager, winning 25 trophies in his 17 seasons as a player for FC Barcelona before heading to Al Sadd, where he spent the remainder of his playing career. He took over as manager of the club in 2019 after his retirement.

Xavi’s Al Sadd delivered trophy after trophy with a style of play that is eerily similar to that which was visible at the Camp Nou in years past. The midfielder stayed true to the tiki-taka style while at Al Sadd, with former teammate Santi Cazorla an important player for him in Qatar.

The 41-year-old won seven trophies in two years as manager of Al Sadd, including a league triumph that saw his side finish the season without a single defeat.

Xavi’s appointment as the new Barcelona manager is expected to be a breath of fresh air for the club after the previous manager Koeman moved away from the possession-based total football style of the club to a more pragmatic approach, causing him to clash with President Joan Laporta on the subject.


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